Amtrak San Joaquin Corridor Service

October 22, 2009 7 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The San Joaquin is a 318-mile Amtrak corridor passenger service serving central California between Sacramento, Oakland and Bakersfield. With as many as 12 daily trains coming in and out of Bakersfield, it is an example of what the proposed Amtrak/FEC project could turn into for Jacksonville.

About the San Joaquin

San Joaquin route on left. Proposed California high speed rail corridor on right.

The San Joaquin operates twelve trains (six in each direction) each day between Bakersfield and Stockton. From Stockton, four trains from Bakersfield continue west to Oakland, while two trains proceed north to the state capital of Sacramento. Central Valley communities served include Fresno, Corcoran, Hanford, Lodi, Madera, Merced, Modesto, Turlock/Denair and Wasco. Delta/Bay communities of Antioch, Martinez, and Richmond are also served by the San Joaquin.

The typical San Joaquin train

A typical San Joaquin train consists of a locomotive and four cars, as follows:

Locomotive (end pointed towards Oakland/Sacramento)
Coach-Baggage Car
Coach Car
Cafe Car
Cab Car (end pointed towards Bakersfield)


Locomotive (end pointed towards Oakland/Sacramento)
Coach Car
Coach Car
Cafe Car
Cab-Baggage Car (end pointed towards Bakersfield)

San Joaquins at Bakersfield
Image by Peter Van den Bossche at

Dueling San Joaquins
Image by SP8254 at

The San Joaquin (right) meets a westbound Capitol at Martinez.
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The platform at Martinez is filled with eager passengers ready to file onto Southbound San Joaquin train 716.
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The San Joaquin provides Wi-Fi to its passengers.
Image by SP825 at

Two San Joaquins passing each other.
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The southbound San Joaquin pulls into the Amtrak Depot in Sacramento. The southbound Coast "Starlate" patiently waits to depart Sacramento.
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Inside the Cafe Car.
Image by Madbuster75 at

Once in Sacramento, San Joaquin riders can transfer to Sacramento Regional Transit's light rail system.  If Jacksonville can embrace rail, sustainability and green initiatives, a similar scene could take place locally with the Skyway, commuter rail and streetcar.
Image by SP8254 at

The Amtrak station at Martinez.
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A southbound San Joaquin at Emeryville.
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Historic Stockton station.
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The historic Santa Fe Depot in Fresno.
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Downtown Fresno.
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Arriving in Bakersfield.
Image by NewForumla at




In Richmond, commuters have the opportunity to transfer to other Amtrak services and BART, for access into San Francisco.  The Richmond aerial clearly indicates the presence of transit oriented development adjacent to the Amtrak facility.

A frequent intercity rail system allows commuters to stay in smaller communities such as Lodi, Martinez and Richmond, yet still have access to the culture, entertainment and jobs in larger cities like Oakland and Sacramento. A Florida corridor service could do the same for St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs and other communities in Northeast Florida.

Article by Ennis Davis